As if Tax Rules Weren't Complicated Enough...

by Marylove Moy 17. February 2015

Individual Retirement Accounts

The U.S. Tax Court in 2014 re-wrote the rules on rollovers between Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).

Up until until January 1, 2015, an IRA account holder could withdraw IRA money from either a traditional or Roth IRA and have 60 days to redeposit the funds back into the same type of retirement account. No penalties or taxes were imposed in this "rollover" as long as the funds met the 60-day rule. The IRA investor could use this "60-day" rollover every 12 months on each IRA owned. This type of rollover is considered "indirect."

According to the new IRS rulings, in 2015 a taxpayer can only do ONE indirect rollover no matter how many IRAs he or she owns be they traditional and/or Roth. The IRS lumps the traditional and Roth IRAS together for this rule.

Investors are given a fresh start for tax year 2015. Indirect rollovers completed during 2014 will be disregarded for the purposes of determining whether a 2015 distribution is eligible for rollover "provided the 2015 distribution is from a different IRA that neither made nor received a 2014 distribution."

The once per year limitation does not apply in the following circumstances:

  • Indirect rollover from a qualified plan, e.g. 401(k), 403(b) etc.
  • Traditional to Roth conversions.
  • Trustee-to-trustee transfers.

The safest way for a client to move funds between IRAs is to use the "trustee-to-trustee" transfers such as a bank moving funds to another bank, investment firm or credit union. It should be noted that a check from one IRA custodian made payable to another IRA custodian will qualify as a trustee-to-trustee transfer even if the first custodian gives the check to the IRA owner.

Specialized tax advice not provided: please consult your professional tax advisor.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. 1st Mariner Bank and 1st Mariner Financial Services are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial.

www.finra.org / www.sipc.org

 

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Harford County Neighborhood Conservation Initiative (NCI)

by Charlie Maykrantz 12. February 2015

Shopping for Homes

If you are looking to purchase a home in the Harford County area and need assistance with closing costs, there's a great program designed to encourage Harford County residents to consider homeownership in the areas of Aberdeen (21001), Abingdon (21009), and Edgewood (21040). It's called the Neighborhood Conservation Initiative (NCI) program that is administered by Home Partnership, Inc. (HPI) on behalf of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

Loans will be available for qualified buyers up to $7,500 that are to be used for closing costs only. The funds can’t be part of meeting the minimum equity requirements with FHA mortgage products. Buyer(s) must meet the income restrictions per program guidelines. Homebuyer Education including in-person workshop(s) and counseling session(s) with a HUD certified counseling agency are required. The buyer must occupy the property as their primary residence. Post purchase liquid assets cannot exceed 20% of gross annual household income. The borrower minimum contribution in the transaction is $1,000. The borrower must apply for a fixed-rate first mortgage. The loan will accrue interest at the rate of 0% and must be paid in full when the home is sold or transferred.

1st Mariner Bank/1st Mariner Mortgage is not responsible for the availability of these funds or any change in the program guidelines as required by the administrator.

For more information on these programs or any of our other products at 1st Mariner Bank please feel free to contact Charlie Maykrantz at cmaykrantz@1stmarinerbank.com or 410-735-2068.

The above programs are subject to change at any time and this does not constitute a guarantee on the part of 1st Mariner Bank as an obligation to offer these programs without the approval of the program administrator. All applicants must be qualified to purchase and participate in these programs per underwriting guidelines of both 1st Mariner and the program administrator.

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How to Talk to Your Spouse about Money

by Erica Starr 11. February 2015

Money in Marriage

They say that money can’t buy happiness. While that may be true, the topic of finances in relationships can often be the pace car in how far your relationship is going to sail or not sail into the sunset.

“Money problems” is still a front runner in the leading causes of divorce in the United States and has remained there for decades. A 2009 study found that couples who disagree over money once a week are 30% more likely to part ways than couples who have those same disagreements once a month. Knowing this, shouldn’t the “money talk” be a top priority for couples to have BEFORE taking the leap into marriage? Of course it should. That said, most people would rather go to the dentist every day for a year than divulge their financial bad habits.

Why you ask? Good question. Just like the visits to the dentist, 9 times out of 10 it ends up never being as bad as you thought it was going to be. Regardless of how much you hate the dentist, you know it’s something that you have to do. Having the money talk with your spouse should also be at the very top of your list of things you HAVE to do.

When you are ready to talk to spouse about money, here are a few tips to help you and your spouse get on the same page (read: a lot of Novocain or laughing gas in my dentist comparison).

Full Disclosure

You have to be completely open and honest with your spouse about your financial history and spending habits. They’ve voluntarily married you for better or for worse and that includes divulging any financial skeletons that either of you may have hiding in your closet. Ideally, there aren’t any post-marriage skeletons as this talk should happen before you say “I Do.” Once both of you are looking at your financial landscape with eyes wide open, it’s much easier to discuss future plans and tactics to reach your financial goals.

Goals - Make Them and Talk about Them

Before you can make an effective financial plan, you have to both agree on your end goals. You can each have your own personal goals, but there should be at least one overarching goal for your family budget. Be it paying off old debt or saving to put a down payment on a house, sharing similar goals can be very effective in building comradery and a teamwork approach as you make progress.

Ancestry

Most people get their financial personality from their parents. How they were raised to think about spending and saving often plays a big role in how they themselves will handle their finances. Even if you don’t agree with everything that you hear, having a talk about each other’s financial upbringing can bring a lot of perspective and understanding into the mix and perhaps help you avoid future arguments.

Set Up a Monthly Coffee Date (Reoccurring Account Review)

Okay it really isn’t a date but it’s a great way to make you think about a monthly financial planning session. See, coffee date sounds much better doesn’t it? Whether it’s at your local Starbucks or if it’s at your kitchen table, you and your spouse should set aside a mandatory reoccurring time to go through all of your finances and make sure you are still on track to reach your goals. Financial aggregators or Personal Finance Managers (PFMs) like Mariner360 are great free tools to use to give you an extremely accurate snapshot of where your money is actually going. (Personal Disclaimer: This can be an extremely scary process. No one should spend that much money on lattes in one year.) These PFMs also can help you both set up budgets and send you alerts when there has been unusual spending or you’re getting close to going over your preselected budget.

Don’t Judge, Don’t be Controlling, and Be Supportive

You are not going to agree on 100% of your goals. You’re most certainly not going to 100% agree on some of the past actions that may have put you or your spouse in a less than ideal financial situation. And that is 100% okay. If you start to go down the path of being overly controlling and placing blame when things get rocky, resentment could soon show its ugly face. As with most things in a marriage, it’s important to always aim to be supportive and not judge one another. As long as you both agree to pursue your joint goals together before pursing your personal goals, everyone will win.

Mariner360

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